Request for Waiver

B-204410: Mar 18, 1982

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An Air Force employee appealed a Claims Group determination that only a portion of an erroneously paid living quarters allowance (LQA) may be waived. As a civilian employee with the Army, she was entitled to LQA and, upon being transferred to the Air Force, she continued to receive LQA. More than 1 year after she was transferred, the employee was advised that her eligibility to receive LQA was in doubt; subsequently, she was notified that she was not authorized to receive LQA. Through an administrative error, the LQA payments continued to be made. The Claims Group determined that the employee was on notice of her possible ineligibility for LQA and denied waiver of the overpayments from the time she was on notice until the payments ceased. However, waiver was granted for that portion of the overpayments the employee received during the time when she had no knowledge that the payment of LQA was incorrect. GAO found that, after the employee was advised that payment of LQA was in doubt, she could no longer assume in good faith that the allowance could be retained. It became her responsibility to pursue the matter until a final determination of eligibility was made. GAO held that, in these circumstances, the employee was not entitled to waiver of the overpayment because she was not entirely without fault. Accordingly, the action of the Claims Group denying a portion of the claim was sustained.